As our site countdown continues, Saturday marked a milestone in the charge toward football season as Penn State hosted its annual media day in Beaver Stadium.
While the day is typically one of canned quotes and platitudes, we did get some news coming out as it was reported than safety John Petrishen has entered the transfer portal and defensive tackle Ellison Jordan is no longer with the program.
Following a brief talk from Penn State Police regarding the changes in traffic patterns, James Franklin took to the podium.
He began by praising the program for facilities and equipment upgrades, noting that old turf had been ripped up from the practice fields and that players were now wearing guarding caps in practice to monitor for concussions.
Franklin also noted that former chief of staff Jemal Griffin had departed the program for an athletic department position at the University of Minnesota St. Thomas in Minnesota
Switching gears to football, Franklin called out tight end Nick Bowers and offensive linemen Steven Gonzalez as players he expects a big year from on offense. On defense, he shouted out defensive ends Shane Simmons and Shaka Toney as well as defensive back John Reid.
Asked whether he’s concerned about depth in the secondary, Franklin said that he feels the team is ahead of where the coaches first thought at safety and that there’s a chance for freshmen Tyler Rudolph, Marquis Wilson and Keaton Ellis to see the field at cornerback.
Redshirt senior Garrett Taylor has seemingly locked down one starting safety, why Lamont Wade, Jonathan Sutherland and Jaquan Brisker are all candidates to start opposite him.
Back on offense, Franklin mentioned that he expects wide receiver KJ Hamler to play both in the slot and on the outside with Mac Hippenhammer seeing more playing time inside.
A decision on a starting quarterback has yet to be made and Franklin says that determination will be made at the time he feels is most appropriate for the team and for either Sean Clifford or Will Levis.
Lastly, he said he plans to use camp as a way to find leaders, with Gonzalez, Toney and Reid joining Michal Menet, Will Fries, Jan Johnson and Cam Brown as players he expects to step up.
Following Franklin, second-year offensive coordinator Ricky Rahne took to the podium. He discussed his summer which involved traveling to pick the brains of a number of coaches across the country at various levels.
He added that previous he addressed issues by working more, but now he’s trying to take a work smarter, not harder approach and making the most of his time.
Rahne closed out his time by stating that he’s worked to improve how he presents himself and his offense to his team. He praised Franklin for how he approaches the team and said that he’s trying to convey his ideas more clearly.
We got our first real glimpse of new special teams coordinator Joe Lorig, who talked about his approach to individualized meetings and the potential for Micah Parsons to see some kick return duties.
Lastly, Brent Pry took his turn at the podium. He mentioned that immediately after the Citrus Bowl ended Cam Brown spoke with the young players about what the need to finish games in 2019 and what it takes to do so.
He added that freshmen Lance Dixon and Brandon Smith could both see the field this year, something that has happened a lot recently with freshmen linebackers. Lastly, Pry said that the defense has talent at all three levels and the most depth he’s had since coming Penn State.